Socrates is credited as being one of the main sources of Western thought. He was alive c. 470 BCD – 399 BCD in Athens, Greece. 

Little is really known of Socrates and his life except for in the works of his students including Plato and Xenophon. The best of Xenophon’s accounts of Socrates can be found in Memorabilia, Apology, Symposium, Oeconomicus. While Plato includes Socrates in most of his works eaching giving some insight into what Plato believed Socrates views were. Plato’s accounts are considered more reliable. He is portaryed by these accounts as a great and influential man of much insight and integrity.


Socrates’ Philosophy  

 For Socrates the pursuit of knowledge was essential to living a good and virtuous life. ‘He tells his judges in his defense speech: human wisdom begins with the recognition of one’s own ignorance; the unexamined life is not worth living; ethical virtue is the only thing that matters; and a good human being cannot be harmed (because whatever misfortune he may suffer, including poverty, physical injury, and even death, his virtue will remain intact)’.  

Socratic Virtue

  1. Socrates believed virtue to be knowledge of what is good and bad; morality. If you know all that is truly good and bad then you can live by the laws of the good and thus be virtuous. There are parts to virtue which are: Courage, Temperance, Justice, Piety.

The Socratic Method 

 Described in Plato’s ‘Socratic Dialogues’. The Socratic method clarified the concepts of Good and Justice by breaking the problem down into a series of questions. In the responses to these questions you will find your answer. Thus, the Socratic method helps examine your own beliefs and morality. It is considered generally today as a method by which teachers cross-examine students. It is a means to lead the student to the correct answer but by making the student confront the flaws of their views. 


 The death of Socrates is perhaps the best known thing about him. He was on trail for refusing to recognise the Gods recognised by the State and for corrupting the youth. Some evidence of his guilt is purported to come from plays such as The Clouds which portrays Socrates as a clown. Socrates was not particularly political but distrusted the democrays present in Athens at the time (he did not hate democracy itself just the way it was used in Athens). As a result of his public imagine as an enemy of the state teaching such beliefs to others he was a target when there were toubles. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by Hemlock. (He could possibly have suggested excile to the judges but instead was sarcastic and suggested praise or a small fine). Stoicly he took the Hemlock and thus ended the life of a philosopher who had such an important and significant influence on the course of Western thought and upon future significant thinkers.

Here’s to Socrates.



International Womens Day: A First Female Philosopher

It was international women’s day yesterday and to celebrate (a little late) I thought I should write about a female philosopher of note; a surprisingly rare species even to this day. Let’s look at an early example of a Great female philosopher…

Hypatia of Alexandria

Hypatia was the daughter of Theon of Alexandria, a mathematician and philosopher. Hypatia grew to also become a mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher in around 400 AD. She became head of the Platonist school at Alexandria and was particularly keen on the teachings of neoplatonism. She was described by commentators as charismatic in her teachings.

However, Christians at the time distrusted science for whoch Hypatia became a symbol; science was paganism. She become a central feature in riots between Christians and non-Christians due to this ‘paganism’ and also due to her political connections. According to reports (although they vary widely in details) she is generally believed to have been murdered by Christians for what she represented to them. 

All of Hypatia’s works have been lost bar their titles and references to them. However, it is believed that she aided her father with some of his works which have been preserved. 

Hypatia is another great women who’s full story and achievements have been lost to history. Today is a day to celebrate these women who have come before and achieved much but have been forgoten.


The meaning of life…

I’m going to mention my opinion on Religion as philosophy and religion are so connected.

I am an Atheist. Please dont anyone hate me for this I know some people hate Athiests and I would say I was agnostic before but I was lying. One particular person who hates Atheists is my boyfriend he think that they shove their opinions on you and try to force you to share their stance. Essentially he hates how Atheism itself has become a sort of religion, or a cult as my boyfriend calls Atheists of this kind. But I just dont believe in a God or a further meaning or reincarnation or life after death. (Well there is sort of life after death but I’ll get to that). Mostly though I just dont understand why we need any more meaning than we already have in what we actually know to exist.

I dont see why being a part of the world is not enough. In reality although we die we never stop existing. We dont evaporate we just become another part of the world. The physical us continues and evolves and becomes the nourishment for something else or something new. The circle of life idea. The thing we lose in death is our consciousness. I will admit this is probably our most valuable feature. It is what we really dont want to lose it is our essence. But really does it matter? Our consciouness and values and opinions are they worth anything? They just seem to be a means of survival; the way humans manage to socialise and survive and evolve to be the way we are and work together the way we work together.

Our conciousness disappears but it doesn’t matter, not one little bit. We just struggle to accept it. I find comfort in the notion that every other physical thing that makes up me survives and continues flourish and nourish nature. That is my religion i guess, my heaven.


Quote of the Week

While I begin getting to grips with blogging I thought i’d begin with a Quote of the Week to get the ball rolling.

The first I thought I’d discuss is the most well known today:

‘I think therefore I am’ – Descartes

This actual quote is not quite what was said by Descartes in his Meditations but does summarise what he meant. Descartes Meditations were written when Scepticism was a real threat to science and belief. His aim was to probe that without a doubt there is something we can know. Knowledge was being doubted as even possible. 

To begin Descartes knocked down all beliefs which could be doubted in anyway. This included anything which we were informed by others as they could be lying or wrong or anything learned through the senses as the sense can decieve us in dreams and hallucinations etc. This brings what we actually know down by quite a bit; almost to nothing.

Descartes though saw that there is at least one thing we can be sure of; we exist. Our ability to question our existence must mean we exist as fictional characters cannot think and doubt and question. We most cetainly exist as a consiousness if we are able to think.

This is the turning point in Descartes meditations. From here on though it becomes a little foggy as he goes on to rely on God and how God would not allow us to be so deceived by our senses. According to Descartes we can thus rely on our ‘clear and distinct’ knowledge from the sense. This is ironically an unclear notion and all further claims from Descartes rely on this claim of Gods benevolence.

Relying on Gods existence is a very risky buisiness in philosophy. Many philosophers are of course religious but the assumption of Gods existence does not make for good work.

There is though the fact that the church at the time would be who publishes books and so conforming to their view would be essential in order to get things published.

The notion that we must be conscious and exist though if we are able to think at all is though an achievement of his work. Thus ‘I think therefore I am’ has become such a well known phrase.

Essays I have written on Descartes:

Descartes mediations (these two are very similar):

Descartes in The Matrix film:


The Tao of Pooh: refresher book

I purchased a small, easy to read philosophy book recently. It is titled ‘The Tao of Pooh’. Tao philosophy is an area that I have never studied before and though something written so enjoyably would be a great way to get back into philosophy.


Here is a link to the book in Amazon:

 The premise of the book is simple; the writer applies Tao philosphy to Tales of Winnie the Pooh and explains how Pooh bear embodies Tao ideals. He explains that this is why he is the most successful of the characters in terms of daily achievements. Pooh bear is not afraid or trying to impress anyone or be a certain way for any reason; he is just Pooh bear and that is all it takes.The writer Benjamin Hoff does an excellent job of simplifying Taoism in an easy tounderstand book. It’s charming as well as he has Pooh and friends as characters talk to him in the book. I would definately recommend this book if Taosim is a new idea to you and you’d like a simple book to begin with or if you are just a fan of Winnie of Pooh.


Hello blogging world!

Hi there,

I’m Jade. I have been thinking recently how unlikely it is that I will ever actually use the knowledge gained from my philosophy degree for anything beyond my own pride. This seemed a little sad to me so i thought i might as well document what I learned, and will continue to learn, in the field of philsophy.

I graduated with a 2:1 in mental philosophy in 2014 and I surprisingly miss the subject. I think philosophy can have that affect as it’s can shake the core of your understandings and force you to build a new framework for thinking for yourself.

This is why I am starting this blog. I don’t want to miss it anymore.